Well, it's official. The terrorists have won.
Senate Votes Against Due-Process Rights
Is it lawful for the president to order any American held indefinitely as a terrorist, without formal charges, evidence presented in open court, a trial by jury, or a standard of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt"? The U.S. Senate had a chance Wednesday to assert that no, a president does not possess that power -- that the United States Constitution guarantees due process.
The U.S. Senate refused to affirm that American citizens arrested in the United States shouldn't be subject to indefinite military detention on the president's order.
We now live in a country where you can be arrested, shipped off to some off-shore prison, and left there to rot for the rest of your life without ever being given a reason why or a chance to defend yourself. Why? Because Al Qaeda, that's why. Because they successfully attacked us and we did the rest for them, spinning ourselves into such a frenzy of fear and jingoism and xenophobia and hatred that we're silling to toss our own rights out the window for the illusion of safety.
I could toss around that Ben Franklin quote about liberty and security, but we've all head it a thousand times and it didn't make a damn bit of difference. At the end of the day we nodded our heads and then voted in the guys who would wipe their asses with the Constitution because they told us they would make us safe.
We now live in a country where airport security gets to go through your belongings and see you naked. Where due process is a thing of the past. Where having a foreign accent and being on an airplane at the same time makes you a terror suspect.
What happened to us? What happened to "land of the free, home of the brave?" To "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?" We got attacked, yes. It was terrible and I wouldn't dare deny that. But the country I grew up being taught about in school wasn't one that would cower in the face of such a thing. It wasn't a country that would cut off it's nose to spite it's face the way we have in the last ten years. We've let fear turn us into a shadow of what America was built to be, and now we are the huddled masses hiding behind a ruling class that hates us in the hopes that their derision will afford us some level of security, whatever the cost.
People complain that the Occupy movement has no clear focus – I wonder if maybe their focus isn't broad enough. Yes, we're being screwed by the banks and the wealthy. But we're also watching our rights get shaved away a little bit at a time and our quality of life become a fairy tale. We're still embroiled in overseas wars with vague purpose and exit strategies. There's still no tower at WTC1, but damned if we kept them Muslims from building a community center. The man who planned the attack that started our "security" downward spiral is dead, and all it yielded us is a nightmarish period of internet bloodlust because we're so afraid we can't see the forest fire through the trees.
And we aren't any safer.
I have a tendency to get apocalyptic and paranoid about these things. Maybe I watched too much X Files in the 90s, I don't know. But I feel like Congress casually waving away due process is worth a little paranoia. This one is big. It's hard not to look at those in charge and wonder if they really don't just hate us or see us as some lesser breed.
Bad Religion recorded this track over a decade ago. Maybe we should have asked them what to do since they apparently saw it coming.